Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Italian Community Gathers for Annual Celebration of the Epiphany

The arrival of the Magi, who come from the corners of the world to adore the infant Messiah, reveals the message of the Feast of the Epiphany: Christ comes for all people, across all times and places.

That’s the message Father Joshua Brommer offered during the celebration of the Epiphany at St. Patrick Cathedral in Harrisburg on Sunday afternoon, January 7. He celebrated the 12:15 Mass in the Italian language, an annual tradition of the Diocese’s Italian Apostolate.

“The Church is filled with the mission to carry Christ to those who need Him most, to say ‘Here is the light in the midst of the darkness…Here is the Prince of Peace,’” said Father Brommer, pastor and rector of the Cathedral Parish.

After incensing the altar and the Nativity scene, both of which were still ornamented with Christmas decorations for the Church’s final day of the season, Father Brommer welcomed the congregation of Italian- and English-speaking faithful, noting the Epiphany’s celebration of the manifestation of God in human history.

Celebrated in Italian, the Mass is an annual event of the Italian Apostolate to highlight the rich history and faith of its people.

After delivering his homily in Italian, Father Brommer offered poignant remarks about the feast, focusing on the “silent luminosity of the star” that guided the Magi to the Christ Child.

“God uses nature to reveal His plan to us. He captures our imagination with the light of a star to lead us to His Son,” Father Brommer said.

“The star is silent, and yet it draws us to bring gifts to the Lord, which are the gifts of ourselves to the people dwelling in darkness all around us,” he said. “The star not only shines for us to see and to follow, but encourages us to get up and do something.”

“We are asked to imitate the Magi, who came without question,” Father Brommer remarked. “They didn’t put themselves at the center of all things, but bowed down to the One who is the center of all things, to adore Him…. Their actions reveal a radical openness to the Lord.”

Following the Mass, the Italian Apostolate Committee welcomed the entire congregation to partake of homemade Italian pasta dishes, breads and traditional Christmas cookies during a reception hosted in the parish hall. The time of fellowship celebrated Italian Catholic faith, culture and hospitality.

“My parents were second-generation Italian, so I do feel a strong connection to my heritage with a Mass such as this,” said Italian Apostolate Committee member Donna Amalfitano. “Even though I don’t speak Italian, it is nice to be part of the culture that supports my heritage.”

“There are a lot of people of Italian heritage that come to this Mass, but there are others of different heritage here as well – everyone really enjoys it. We enjoy having Mass in Italian, and having homemade Italian food to share afterward,” Amalfitano said.

Fellow committee member Mary Consevage said she became involved in order to further connect with her heritage; her grandparents were from the Campania region of Italy.

“I appreciate the reverence of the Mass and its celebration in the Italian language, as it helps connect me with my past,” she said. “I love the culture, the togetherness, the love and tradition we share with one another.”

In addition to the annual Epiphany Mass, the Italian Apostolate hosts a Mass for the Feast of St. Joseph each year. This year, the Mass will be Sunday, March 17 at Holy Spirit Parish in Palmyra. Watch upcoming editions of The Witness for further information.

(Photos by Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness.)

By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness

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